Alternative Luthier Tonewoods, Just Because I can
I just put strings on this custom tenor ukulele last week. This build was a bit of a materials experiment using a variety of Alternative Luthier Tonewoods. This was not a custom order but I build these as shop instruments occasionally, just because I can. I was looking for something a little different and I kinda wanted it to be a little dark and sultry. Besides, I’ll never find a matching back and side set of the same wood for this unusual Myrtle Wood top.
So, I used an unmatched Oregon Myrtle Sound Board with a curly Claro Walnut Back and Sides. I would have preferred something on the black or grey side for the back and sides but woods exhibiting those hues were not available at this time and I don’t like to tint or stain. Usually I use Koa with Claro Walnut but I couldn’t resist using this unusual colored and curly Myrtle Wood top instead. I also tried out a new blue Paua Abalone as purfling along with India Rosewood and red/black maple strips for binding. The accent wood is Black Palm. Once again, just because I can.
The finger board and bridge are Mexican Ziricote. The neck is Honduran Mahogany with internal, carbon fiber truss rod. I’ve been experimenting with neck shape and thickness again and this one is 11/16″ thick at the nut but a little more elliptical in shape hedging toward a “V” shape–it turned out to be very comfortable.
I was shocked at the volume of this instrument–totally not expected. I used the same modified “X” bracing as usual and didn’t do anything different with the rest of the build. The top wood had reasonable stiffness considering its figuring and was, in my opinion, of an appropriate density. My Claro Walnut builds have had a tendency to show a little more volume though. Go figure?
Maybe not for everyone in appearance but definitely distinctive and playable. Alternative Luthier Tonewoods, just because I can!